Saturday, August 21, 2010

Buying climbing shoes

Finding climbing shoes that fits and suit your climbing style is no easy task. I'm currently in a shoe buying dilemma. The crux is that I tend to enjoy a mixed bag of climbing activities and I want a shoe that covers it all. I climb 5.7 to 5.10 trad routes, up to 5.11 sport and boulder in the gym on overhanging problems.

My current and past shoes are the 5.10 anasazi verde. I wear them tight with a hammer toe fit which works for me in the gym and on face/slab outside. Trad is another story. A hammer toe fit is just too painful for crack climbing. So, what I want is flat fit performance trad shoe if it exists.

I went to MEC on a shoe finding mission and tried on 5.10 Blanco, La Sportiva Muria Lace, Katana lace, Nago, Scarpa Techno Rock Shoes and the Instinct. Of course, most of these are down turned or require curled toes which are not going to be great for cracks. If I was looking for just a bouldering shoe I would have got the Katana lace. Note that, La Sportiva and 5.10 sizing vary by about two euro sizes. My old 5.10 verde shoes come in at 42.5 where I got a 41 Katana lace on and maybe even a 40.5. Anyway, I left MEC empty handed and returned home to glue both pairs of verdes back together for the fifth time.

Enter, the La Sportiva TC Pro. Now MEC carries this shoe but not at their Ottawa store which makes trying them on annoying. After looking at various form posts and reviews I decided to order the 42 and 41.5 sizes via the MEC website. The 42 was too big and I'm on the fence about the 41.5 pair. They are snug but with stretch I'm worried they will become too sloppy for thin edging. I took the 42's back and ordered the 40.5 and the 41's to compare to what I've got now. Hopefully in the end I'll find something that I'm happy with and not just become an importer of TC Pro's for the Ottawa store.

If money were no object then I would definitely buy both Katana lace and a pair of TC Pro's. Although, it is difficult to buy more cams after spending so much money on shoes.

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